Many of the Olive Garden employees fall under the non-exempt category of employment and MUST be paid overtime wages according to the guidelines laid out in the Fair Labor Standard Act (FLSA). The FLSA sets the overtime rate for non-exempt employees at time and one-half their standard rate of pay for any time worked over 40 hours in a single week.
The FLSA regulations do not apply to “administrative” or “professional” employees due to exemptions preventing specific categories of employees from receiving overtime pay.
Exemptions are not based entirely on one’s job title, however. Whether or not an employee should receive overtime pay is calculated by the hours worked, the rate of pay, the job duties, and even the job description.
It’s always a good idea to speak with an attorney with experience in overtime pay laws due to issues with additional state laws governing overtime pay. These laws sometimes overlap federal laws and further complicate or contradict the FLSA.
What is Olive Garden?
Olive Garden is an American casual dining restaurant chain specializing in Italian-American cuisine, serving pasta dishes, salads, and steak. Founded in 1982 as a unit of General Mills, today it is a subsidiary of the eminent restaurant group Darden Restaurants, Inc. As of May 2018, Olive Garden operates 892 locations globally and generates $3.8 billion in revenue. In 2011, Olive Garden implemented a mandatory tip-out program, enabling them to cut more employees’ hourly wage to $2.13 an hour. Moreover, in 2012 Olive Garden became one of the first national restaurant chains to test converting most of its 92,000 person staff to part-time, aiming to limit the cost of paying for health care benefits for full-time employees. Nevertheless, Olive Garden garners attention both domestically and abroad for its notable advertising of ‘unlimited bread-sticks’ and vaguely Tuscan trade dress.
Can Olive Garden Employees Earn Overtime Wages?
Numerous non-exempt Olive Garden employees may be required to start before their shifts or even work after their shifts finish off the clock. It is not uncommon for employees to work double shifts as well. Because of this, if many Olive Garden employees exceed 40 working hours in a single week, they should receive overtime pay.
Employers have been known to illegally misclassify positions to avoid paying overtime. For instance, Olive Garden shift or location managers may have been labeled “managers” with the goal of marking them exempt from overtime pay. However, these employees are in fact non-exempt because of the nature of their job duties.
Often companies label employees as managers even though they do not fill vital roles for the business. The FLSA dictates that “managers” must have specific abilities, for instance, hiring or firing employees, making schedules, or completing other tasks that are essential to the running of the business. Typically these employees do not perform these duties and are instead only labeled as managers for employers to save money by avoiding paying overtime.
Another unlawful practice that the Olive Garden may perform is having employees clock in before a shift or asking them to stay after a shift without compensating them. This practice of manipulating time cards to keep payroll costs down is a violation of the FLSA and can result in a lawsuit.
How Can a FLSA Lawyer Help You
An experienced lawyer can analyze your case and see if you are entitled to lost overtime wages from Olive Garden by evaluating how state and federal laws apply to your situation.
Does Olive Garden Have to Pay Overtime Wages to Employees?
For the most part, Olive Garden must pay overtime to non-exempt employees who work more than 40 hours in a week as long as they are not excluded by the FLSA. However, these exemptions become more complicated by some states that have additional laws governing them.
If you feel like you have been denied overtime wages, then it is in your best interest to consult an attorney with FLSA experience and knowledge of state overtime laws.
Are There Other Overtime Pay Lawsuits Involving Olive Garden?
Here are a few examples from the many previous lawsuits that have been issued against other employers for failing to pay overtime wages:
- Justia lists at Olive Garden as a defendant in 40+ lawsuits since 2008
- Most notably, in 2011 a Texas Olive Garden was ordered to pay almost $26,000 to more than 140 current and former servers who were not properly paid as required by the FLSA overtime laws.
If you feel as though Olive Garden or any another employer has denied you overtime wages, you could have a case. Please get in touch with the Lemberg Law legal team. Complete our form for a FREE case evaluation, or call 844-685-9200 NOW. Lemberg Law will evaluate your case as see if you are eligible to receive lost overtime wages as a non-exempt employee.